Arizona Punitive Damages Malice
In Arizona, if malice is express or may be implied from the nature of the acts and the circumstances, punitive damages are possible.
Rodgers v. Bryan, 82 Ariz. 143, 151, 309 P.2d 773, 778-79 (1952) (malicious or aggravated conduct in beating plaintiff may constitute malice for purposes of punitive damages; $ 15,000 awards for compensatory and punitive damages upheld);
Reah v. Jupin, 68 Ariz. 335, 336-37, 206 P.2d 558, 559-60 (1949) (no error to submit punitive damages to jury when defendant pushed, kicked, and grabbed plaintiff; malice may be inferred from nature of the acts and surrounding circumstances);
Barker v. James, 15 Ariz. App. 83, 87, 486 P.2d 0,195-200 (1971) (in suit for battery from scuffle between neighbors, pleadings sufficiently alleged malice as basis for punitive damages; error in refusing related jury instruction harmless);
Safeway Stores, Inc. v. Harrison, 14 Ariz. App. 439, 441, 484 P.2d 208, 210 (1971) (for push into shopping cart and resulting bruise, $ 2,000 general damages upheld as well as $ 20,000 punitive damages because battery was wanton, malicious, or aggravated).
As the supreme court has more recently stated in the context of bad faith, when a wrongdoer "should be consciously aware of the evil of his actions . . . or that his conduct is so outrageous, oppressive or intolerable in that it creates a substantial risk of tremendous harm to others," the evil mind necessary for punitive damages may exist. Linthicum v. Nationwide Life Ins. Co., 150 Ariz. 326, 330, 723 P.2d 675, 679 (1986).